NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Treating blood clots, particularly those in the legs or lungs, can be a delicate process.
A Temple Health doctor saw a need for a better way to do it, and he invented a new catheter to make treatment faster and easier.
And a North Philadelphia man is thrilled he benefited from the new device.
"My chest was tightening. I broke out in a sweat," recalls Nafeez Hill of North Philadelphia.
When Nafeez first had a blood clot, he was 23 and recovering from varicose vein surgery on his legs.
A clot that formed in his leg broke off and went to his lungs.
Luckily, his mother rushed Nafeez to the hospital for emergency care. He ended up bedridden for weeks.
And seven years later, those horrible symptoms returned.
"I didn't really want to believe it was happening again," Nafeez says.
This time, at Temple University Hospital, Dr. Riyaz Bashir offered Nafeez treatment with a new catheter designed to deliver clot-busting drugs and remove the clot.
Dr. Bashir thought conventional catheters were too small to remove enough of the clot in larger chest arteries.
So he created the Bashir Endovascular Catheter, with an expandable group of small catheters.
"The basket would expand in this larger blood vessel and deliver the drug at multiple cross-sectional points," explains Dr. Bashir.
It also takes advantage of the blood's own anti-clotting chemicals.
"Once the basket expands, it makes a little bit of a tilt, and that brings the body's own blood into the blood clot," says the doctor.
The combined physical and chemical actions can speed up the breakdown of the clot.
New data from a small follow-up study shows it reduces lung artery blockages by 90% within 48 hours.
Nafeez was excited to get the new technology and to recover in less than 24 hours.
"100% great - no problems with my breathing and even me walking and everything," he notes.
Nafeez is still being tested to find why he's so prone to clots.
Dr. Bashir has now developed seven catheters for a variety of blood vessel sizes. All are cleared by the FDA, and all are made in Bucks County.